The New Normal

I've been here before

I would be dishonest if I said I’m doing well all the time. I have been experiencing bouts of anxiety, stress, anger, and rumination. Yet, I’m doing better than I expected because I have returned with gusto to my well-being routine and added in a few tricks or two.

When I broke down sobbing this weekend, I realized I had forgotten to prioritize self-care again. I gently reminded myself to be generous with myself. To schedule in the things that I know work for me. That it’s not selfish to take time for myself even when the to-do list is expanding and the crisis is working day by day.

Yes, I’ve had to pare down my routine but certain things have really helped.

When I catch myself ruminating yet again, I accept that, yes, there is a lot on our plates right now. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique has helped me a lot. I learned about it from the Moodpath app. Apparently this is a method known as grounding. You name 5 things you see, 5 things you hear, then 5 things you feel. You repeat this with 4 things you see, 4 things you hear, then 4 things you feel. Etc. Until you get to 1. It feels unnatural at first, but it really helps. I always forget those thoughts after I complete the exercise.

I’ve continued to schedule a time for daily meditation and reminded myself that there are ways we can tune in to ourselves and remember that there will be life after this storm too.

If you have children, it really helps to focus on them. I have been at home with my toddler all day and have really used this time to practice being present with her. So when she jumps on my back and wants a ride, wants to go out and touch the beetles that are aggregating on our doorstep, or join an impromptu wildflower photo shoot, we do it. Work can wait.

I schedule time with my husband. Although it is tempting to just promptly transfer my daughter over to him the moment he walks in the door, I check that he hasn’t been in contact with any really sick patients and then hug and kiss him first. I take a few moments to appreciate him and sit with him. Then, I go and take some time to work.

I have continued to make sure I get 8 hours of sleep every night. If I have trouble sleeping at night, then I make sure to nap with my toddler during her afternoon nap. When I remember to take care of myself, I have much more energy to support everyone around me. I am then able to remember that there will be a light at the end of this storm too, as there always is.

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